On Friday, 12 January, Rizk Rajoub, on hunger strike for 22 days, was transferred to the Ramle prison clinic after the deterioration of his health. Rajoub launched his hunger strike on 25 December in protest of his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. He was offered the choice of indefinitely renewable imprisonment on the basis of secret evidence or deportation to Sudan.
Rajoub, 61, is from the town of Dura near al-Khalil. He has spent 23 years in Israeli prisons over separate arrests, with over half of that time held in administrative detention on multiple occasions. His family members report that he has not spent a full year outside Israeli prisons since 1996. He was seized again by occupation forces on 27 November 2017 in his home in Dura, and then ordered to administrative detention. The next hearing on his administrative detention will take place on 15 January.
Rajoub had said earlier that he will not accept deportation from Palestine for one day, but he just as clearly rejects his continued arbitrary imprisonment, vowing to continue his strike until the end of his administrative detention. Rajoub’s lawyer reported that he has been held in solitary confinement in Ofer prison since launching his strike and has only been allowed to shower once in that time. Rajoub was held prior to the transfer to the Ramle clinic in a small, dirty cell with surveillance cameras and old, smelly blankets with no changes of clothes. The temperature inside the cell is very cold with a high iron window that is always open. Rajoub’s cell is also raided three times daily by two jailers in an attempt to pressure him to end his strike.
Fellow prisoner Ibrahim al-Araj said that Rajoub has lost 15 kilograms (31 pounds) since launching the strike and that the prison administration provodes him with two salt tablets daily.
Ahmad Rajoub, Rizk’s son, said that his father’s health was in continual decline and that he is refusing to consume medications or undergo tests. He is refusing to consume vitamins or other supplements.
In addition, on 10 January, Ayoub Yacoub Mahmoud al-Asa, 33, from the town of al-Obeidiya near Bethlehem launched a hunger strike in rejection of the renewal of his administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – for an additional six months. The prisoners of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Ofer prison said that he was transferred to isolation cells after launching his hunger strike. He has been imprisoned since 21 June 2017 without charge or trial, and has spent over five years in Israeli prison in the past.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity with Rizk Rajoub and Ayoub al-Asa and demands their immediate release and an end to the policy of administrative detention, a systematic violation of Palestinian rights by the Israeli settler colonial project.